59 Shiite rebels killed: Yemen

SANAA: The Yemeni army said on Monday it had "purged" pockets of resistance of Shiite rebels near the northern city of Saada, and killed 59 fighters in various operations.

A military spokesman quoted by the website of the defence ministry 26sep.net said that the operation in the city of Anad resulted in the deaths of 37 Zaidi Shiite rebels, who had been using the area as a launchpad for attacks against Saada.

Another five rebels were killed in clashes with the army, while seven others died when attempting an attack on the army in Jebel Samaa, near Saada, the spokesman said.

In Harf Sufyan in the Amran province, the army attacked a vehicle carrying rebels, killing 10 of them, the statement added.

It said on the other hand that seven teachers had been kidnapped by the rebels in Aal al-Waqis of Saqain district and were taken to unknown place.

The army statements could not be independently verified.

Fighting between government forces and the Zaidi rebels entered its third month on Sunday and there is no prospect for a ceasefire in sight.

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded and tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes, resulting in a humanitarian crisis with a dire shortage of food and aid material.

The authorities accuse the rebels of being supported by groups in Iran and of seeking to reinstate a form of clerical rule that ended in republican coup in 1962. The rebels deny both claims.